Freeport East attracts ?45m investment

Freeport East attracts GBP45m investmentAssan Panel plans to locate its first UK manufacturing facility at Gateway 14 (Image credit: Freeport East)

A sustainable building materials business headquartered in Turkey has confirmed its plans to locate its first UK manufacturing facility at Gateway 14, part of Freeport East. Assan Panel is an affiliate of Kibar Holding, a prominent name in Turkey's industrial sector. The move to Gateway 14 will create about 100 skilled jobs in Stowmarket and bring an investment of up to GBP45m.

The announcement comes at a time when the UK and Turkey are discussing an enhanced Free Trade Agreement. Both Freeport East and Assan Panel are keen to ensure the investment acts as a positive signal to other companies looking to strengthen trade connections between the two countries. Contingent upon securing required approvals, Ihsan Tolga Akar, managing director of Assan Panel, said that the goal is to have the new plant operational by autumn 2025.

As part of its investment, Assan Panel, which exports to 85 countries from Turkey, is planning to establish a new office in Ipswich to cater the UK market. The new multimillion-pound facility will manufacture sandwich panels filled with Polyisocyanurate (PIR), mineral wool, or polyurethane - critical components in constructing sustainable and eco-friendly buildings. Steve Beel, chief executive of Freeport East, said: "This announcement represents a real milestone in strengthening the presence of green industry in and around the Stowmarket and wider Freeport East area.

As well as direct job creation, the investment will provide opportunities to build strong local R&D relationships with universities and drive the development of the skills and innovation cluster at Gateway 14. "With close proximity to the Port of Felixstowe and the flexibility of the freeport customs model, locating in Freeport East provides Assan Panel with the ideal base from which to serve both UK and European markets. We are confident this is a model that will encourage other international manufacturers to consider Freeport East as a future strategic location."

Haluk Kayabasi, chief executive of Kibar Holding, added: "Kibar Holding, one of the leading groups of the Turkish industry, under which Assan Panel operates, is taking firm steps forward on its globalisation journey with its unabated investment moves. "We aim to further strengthen our presence in the European market with the new facility investment of Assan Panel in the UK, which has previously increased its presence abroad with the investments it has realised in Jordan and Azerbaijan." Lord Dominic Johnson, minister for investment in the Department for Business and Trade, said the investment "underscores Freeport East's outstanding offer to businesses operating in green industries, and will create new, skilled jobs in the region".

Minister for levelling up, Jacob Young, said: "This significant commitment by Assan Panel, made possible by the government's Freeports programme, not only brings high-skilled jobs and investment to the east of England but also strengthens the UK's important trading relationship with Turkey."

Cllr Richard Smith, Suffolk County Council cabinet member for economic development, skills, transport strategy and waste, said: "This is a substantial investment which will create many new local jobs and be a significant boost for Suffolk's manufacturing sector, and I would like to commend the joint inward investment and Freeport East teams for their important role in securing it."

Gateway 14, led by Mid Suffolk District Council-owned Gateway 14 Ltd with development partner, Jaynic, is next to the A14 at Stowmarket.



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